The FIAT from the toy store

ER Classics Desktop 2022

The Deetman company used to be in Utrecht (I thought I remembered). That was a top business. Of course there were Dinky Toys and Corgi Toys, but many building sets were also sold. Nice building sets.

A nice FIAT racing car

One such model was finished in the window. And I could not be missed if I was in Utrecht with - most of the time - my father. It was a model car. A very large model car. An insanely detailed model of a FIAT racing car from the early days of automobile history. Equipped with a monstrous four-cylinder and chain drive. In the meantime, I think my preference for 'basic' technology must have been formed then.

A while later ...

And you are 55+ years later watching 'Het nephew van'. Not in Urecht, but in Valkenswaard. At the advertiser Retrolegends is a FIAT 501 Bi-posto Corsa from 1924. A bright red 1460 cc four-cylinder racing car that is so sketchily lined that it is clear that there is really only on and on, which is not inexorably indispensable. The four-cylinder side valve has a power of 27 hp. At 3.000 rpm. The top speed? It was just 75 km / h! The car has been dormant for years in the IFAS museum in Northern Italy until it was sold in 2004. The FIAT was technically corrected while retaining the patina

Started as a sporty, open car

In the beginning, the FIAT 501 Biposto Corsa was a sporty open two-seater with only brakes on the rear wheels. But these cars became very popular with starting competition riders. In the meantime, the situation is still the same as with the FIAT model at Deetman: The 502 Biposto is unaffordable for me.

A tribute to the past

But the fact that cars like this have been preserved is fantastic. I see them as just as important as the Night Watch and the Eifel tower. Driving such a time machine has relatively little to do with driving as we know it from classic car enthusiasts. But it would actually be part of the automobile education to take a ride in (or 'on') such a veteran. To delve into how basic technology was then. What kind of craft skills you, as an almost literal 'driver' (stoker), had to have in your house to compete with such a board on wheels.

You can also make one yourself

The car that AMK Reader Rob Gunsing made entirely by himself (including the bodywork) based on a chassis of a Peugeot from the thirties proves how far people can get with sober technical knowledge and craftsmanship. Rob drives his Peugeot regularly. We hope that the FIAT at Retrolegends also finds an owner who will regularly let him go.

Limited deployment

The usability of this type of car is of course limited here on mainland Europe. But after De Brexit we can perhaps make England a reserve for this kind of motorized free-range animals. Because within their limitations, these old-timers can simply be deployed. And if something breaks? Then you don't have to go to a high tech metalworking company, but you go to the blacksmith or your local metalworker. Things like tires are just new for sale.

Simplicity is beautiful
But of course you can also build something like this yourself. Rob Gunsing proved that


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